Victoria’s Secret model and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Girl Model Marissa Miller is suing dating service DNA Diamonds for using her photos in Internet and print ads. This is the type of suit that attracts the attention of the general public…not just a Web lawyer.
If the allegations are true, from a legal standpoint she should be able to recover compensatory damages at a minimum — assuming the defendant has the funds to pay any judgment.
What’s the importance of this case to you?
It should remind you and other Internet marketers not to use photos or images on your websites unless you have the legal right to do so. When in doubt, either get written permission or don’t use the photo. There’s plenty of stock photography and public domain pics available for you to use without risking a lawsuit. If you really want to use a photo but can’t pin down ownership, have your Web lawyer do it for you.
As for supermodel Miller’s legal claims, they include invasion of privacy, misappropriation of image and likeness, and unjust enrichment.
If you do a Google image search for model Marissa Miller, or watch her YouTube videos, her claims for “privacy’ are kind of funny regardless of the legal merit. My guess is the equity term “unjust enrichment” adequately reflects what’s at stake here. It was less the principle of the thing than the fact she didn’t get paid for the use of her photos.
Have you ever been accused of using someone’s photos on your website without permission?
Or have you caught someone using your pics without permission?
If so, what happened?
Feel free to share your experience by posting a comment about it.
To your success!
-Mike the Web lawyer